A Cry For Justice

Awakening the Evangelical Church to Domestic Violence and Abuse in its Midst

The Poison of Serpents is Under The Lips of the Abuser

UPDATE  Sept 2021:  Barbara Roberts has come to believe that Jeff Crippen does not practise what he preaches.  He vilely persecuted an abuse victim and spiritually abused many other people in the Tillamook congregation. Go here to read the evidence. Jeff has not gone to the people that he spiritually and emotionally abused. He has not apologised to them, let alone asked for their forgiveness.


[August 19, 2022: There have been some changes made to this post. For more information, read the Editors’ notes at the bottom of the post. Editors.]

“Their throat is an open grave; they use their tongues to deceive.” “The venom of asps is under their lips.”  (Romans 3:13  ESV)

Abusers, narcissists, sociopaths — whichever term you choose, have something in common. Poison comes from their mouth. Poison is in their words, in their glances, in their mannerisms and expressions. Proverbs nails it:

A worthless person, a wicked man, goes about with crooked speech, winks with his eyes, signals with his feet, points with his finger, with perverted heart devises evil, continually sowing discord;   (Proverbs 6:12-14  ESV)

Motivated by their wicked lust to be first, to have power and control and the worship of others, abusers are adept in their medium of choice. In both verbal and non-verbal forms of communication they sink their fangs into their targets and inject their poison. Proverbs says this poison sows discord. It alienates people from one another, poisoning them against the person the abuser is trying to tear down. It only takes a glance, an eyebrow raised at just the right time and the poison is delivered. The fangs are hidden “under the lips” says the Apostle Paul. Just like deadly serpent fangs that are retractable.

So effective is this evil poison that there doesn’t seem to be a reliable anti-venom to neutralize it. Once poisoned, people generally become loyal allies of the abuser, at least for a long, long time. You can recognize the people in your life who have been bitten. They begin to stand off from you. They accuse you. They no longer believe you. All of you who have been targets of an abuser know exactly what I am speaking of.

As I have mentioned before, my experience with these poisonous serpents has been in the local church. Hidden in the disguise of an eminent saint or pillar of the church, they really are like a well-camouflaged snake in the grass. The Apostle Paul battled them constantly in the churches he planted. They worked their evil and spread their poison in order to undermine Paul’s ministry and the gospel he delivered, all to exalt themselves in the eyes of the people. Here is an example:

I, Paul, myself entreat you, by the meekness and gentleness of Christ — I who am humble when face to face with you, but bold toward you when I am away! — I beg of you that when I am present I may not have to show boldness with such confidence as I count on showing against some who suspect us of walking according to the flesh.  (2 Corinthians 10:1-2  ESV)

Read through 2 Corinthians (and most other books of the Bible) and you will find the Apostles and Prophets and Christ warning the flock about the leaven (poison) of these evil workers of iniquity. In the verses just above, you see from Paul’s words that these false brothers at Corinth were accusing Paul of being two-faced, a fraud, and no apostle at all. Poison. Venom. Sowing of discord.

In our church over the years we have ministered to many people. And we have seen many people come and go. Some simply did not want to face up to the sin in their lives. But many others, as we have come to realize after the fog lifted that the wicked cast….many others kept distant from us and departed because they had been poisoned. In hidden places where no one could see, modern day Diotrephes (see 3 John) spread their poison. Then, when relationships broke down….you all can guess what happened. Diotrephes laid the blame on me or our Elders — but particularly on me.

That is my experience of the poison of serpents. Most of you have probably experienced it in the setting of an abusive marriage. Some of you may have been targeted by a serpent who was the pastor. But the dynamic is very much the same. Spread the poison. Alienate people and deceive them into being allies of the wicked. Paul wasn’t exaggerating, was he? The poison of asps really is under the lips of the abuser.


Coda by Barb

I knew a man in Australia who was a snake catcher. Actually, he worked with all sorts of native wildlife, but one thing he was good at was catching snakes. He had often been called out by home-owners in the country whose house had been entered by a snake — an unwelcome visitor. He would catch the snake and take it out into the bush and release it safely. He would never kill it if he could avoid doing so. He cared for native wildlife. And some native wildlife is endangered in Australia, even some kinds of snakes.

This man I knew — someone told me that he had been bitten so many times in the course of his work that if he was bitten again he could very quickly die. I guess he carried an Epipen with him all the time. He could die swiftly from one more bite because his reaction to venom had been so heightened from so many bites, that his body had developed an ultraquick and extreme reaction if he got bitten again. This reminds me of the PTSD that some victims develop after the trauma of repeated and chronic psychological and spiritual abuse.

Coda Coda by Jeff 🙂

Excellent illustration, Barbara. And this shows us all the more clearly why our Lord doesn’t want a serpent in the garden. That is to say, we are to strive to keep our churches “serpent free” so that people can heal — particularly those who have been bitten by abusers.

[August 19, 2022: Editors’ notes:

—For some comments made prior to August 19, 2022 that quoted from the post, the text in the comment that was quoted from the post might no longer be an exact match.
—For some comments made prior to August 19, 2022 that quoted from the post, the text in the comment that was quoted from the post might no longer be found in the post.
If you would like to compare the text in the comments made prior to August 19, 2022 that quoted from the post to the post as it is now (August 19, 2022), click here [Internet Archive link] for the most recent Internet Archive copy of the post.]


  1. healingInHim

    Thank you for posting this. Barb’s coda has me wondering if this is why I seem even more sensitive to feeling “unsafe” as I attempt to find a “safe” place to worship the Lord?
    It’s difficult to describe just how uncomfortable I have felt as I have accepted invitations to “come on back”. Have I been bitten so often to the point of realizing that I am entering into the serpent’s realm, again?
    Jeff’s coda summed it up very well:

    That is to say, we are to strive to keep our churches “serpent free” so that people can heal — particularly those who have been bitten by abusers.

  2. grace551

    Great post, Jeff and Barbara! I so agree with you! I especially like the part about keeping the church serpent-free so that people can heal.

  3. Elizabeth Kraus

    Interesting food for thought, especially as the Coda Coda (by Jeff) calls out something much larger than the abuser and a church that chooses to protect him or her. Like anyone else who’s been in church for any length of time, I’ve seen my share of walkouts and splits. While accusations may be different, the MO is always the same. But time after time, church leadership shrugs their shoulders and lets people stir up trouble, gives them a pass, all the while holding others to a higher standard (like, not “gossiping”….). Some pastors I would now swear were enjoying the drama themselves. The MO is easy to spot. It’s time for Godly men and women to speak up and say “no more”, instead of “turning the other cheek.”

    • Seeing the Light

      Elizabeth, you are so right. I was at a church before and during a split where it was undeniable that at least one Elder / pastor was feeding on the drama as though the more turmoil and commotion there was, the more God was moving! It was exciting for him! Another Elder was very authoritarian and wanted to discipline the church members who spoke up too much and eventually wanted to leave — though I am not sure how — since they left!

    • Renewed Spirit

      Pardon my ignorance but what does MONTH refer to? Yes it is a sickest heart that sees these breakups as some form of entertainment….sick!

      • Hi, I changed your screen name for your safety. (You had used the name of your blog as your screen name, and it would probably have identified you.)

        I think you are asking what MO refers to. MO stands for modus operandi — a particular way or method of doing something. E.g. “Every killer has his own special modus operandi.”

  4. Valerie

    Well stated, Ps Jeff! I remember specifically the treatment I got from a woman from church who I spoke to privately about the abuse. Out of nowhere she verbally attacked me and my head was spinning by the blindsided nature of it. After our “talk” I literally felt I had poison dripping from my body as the result of her fangs. It was palpable. I literally felt I had just been bitten with penetrating fangs. She proceeded to slither back into the grass after her attack. Her attack on me was in some ways more traumatizing than the behaviors of my H due to how it unfolded. She is front and center in the church and I never saw it coming. I sensed a degree of arrogance but not callousness and cunning that I later was the recipient of.

    Elizabeth you said —

    But time after time, church leadership shrugs their shoulders and lets people stir up trouble, gives them a pass, all the while holding others to a higher standard (like, not “gossiping”….).

    You have stated this well. It seems to come down to not wanting to take out the garbage while donning good church clothes and high heels. One mustn’t get dirty now! The one making people aware the garbage needs to be taken out is rebuked or ignored while “more pleasant” things are discussed during the church potluck.

    • marriedtohyde


      Your point about the ‘c’hurch only wanting to focus on the good and pleasant while ignoring the sin needing attention hit a nerve with me.

      My anti-husband told me that he “didn’t want any more downs” when I pleaded with him by phone not to pursue divorce; my reasoning was that marriage and life have ups and downs and our struggle would not always be there.

      This refusal to accept the reality of imperfection and deal with it accordingly is a similarity I see between my PA-Narc anti-husband’s response and the examples like Valerie’s about the ‘c’hurch’s response.

      I feel there is a link I don’t quite understand.

  5. Seeing the Light

    Thank you so much for the post, Pastor Jeff. It really is spot on.

    Barbara, regarding your coda, I have to say that this description really resonated with me.

    He could die swiftly from one more bite because his reaction to venom had been so heightened from so many bites, that his body had developed an ultraquick and extreme reaction if he got bitten again. This reminds me of the PTSD that some victims develop after the trauma of repeated and chronic psychological and spiritual abuse.

    I live this now and search for a way to heal. My sympathetic nervous system is so hyper-aroused that I get breathless just waking up in the morning. I awaken to the sense that my body and mind are calm and within a minute everything turns on at high speed and I can’t stop it. It then cycles up and down throughout the day, and I am extremely reactive to everything from someone dropping something to the realization that “he” has come in the door or seeing his number on the caller ID. I physically respond to almost everything. Needless to say, I am quite disabled. It’s so frustrating to not be depressed, to love life and to have a zeal for living but be stuck isolated in my home at the mercy of a hyper-aroused brain, mind and body. I am almost completely drained. It is the major factor that keeps me from being able to leave. I am too disabled to fight for custody of my kids.

    That phrase “chronic psychological and spiritual abuse” really hit home, too. My pseudo-husband never physically abused me. It was the subtle, covert spiritual distortion and emotional water-torture that took me almost two decades to even really understand. In my experience the spiritual leaders and church authorities involved were actually part of the spiritual distortion. I can’t even describe it; it was mind-numbing – almost cult-like, but in respected evangelical churches in our community. I’m still trying to put my thinking back together. I don’t know if I will ever trust another church leader again (except you guys 🙂 ). Thank you all for being here.

    • Seeing the Light

      In my above comment I meant to add that this description of my health situation was not true of me before my pseudo-husband. I was strong and healthy with no significant physical issues.

      • grace551

        Seeing The Light, that is so terrible. I have prayed for your healing. ((Hugs)) and all best wishes.

      • Seeing the Light

        Oh, thank you, Grace551. Your prayer, kind words, and hugs mean more and are more appreciated than I can express. God bless you.

      • grace551

        Sometimes I read someone’s account, feel for them and pray for them but don’t have time to write a reply (in fact that’s what happened the first time I read yours): it may well be that others have done that for you. I’m probably not the only one. x

      • Seeing the Light

        Grace551, a very heartfelt thank you again. 🙂

  6. loves6

    My husband has sown discord with my adult children. They are hard on me at times and very abusive. Two of my teen children have physically attacked me in the past. He has also cause havoc with my friendships. One of my friends he has phoned up, telling me he felt sorry for her being a friend of mine as I’m not an easy person to deal with, this was when I was having a breakdown. I felt so betrayed….I felt unprotected that he didn’t be my advocate but made things so much worse.

    My husband also used me as a scapegoat when we left our church of many years. He was in fact the one with the problem but he used me as the reason….all my friends except one turned against me. My husband was close to the Pastor, close to God (in others’ eyes) man. Many people believe that I am the problem.

    I suffer from PTSD (from past trauma). My husband knows it but constantly adds salt to my wounded heart and makes my trauma worse. We are in a honeymoon phase just now because I gave an ultimatum a few weeks back. It’s unbelievable he is abusive at times like this. It’s hard to believe he is so venomous and like a viper….but I come to this blog and I’m reminded of the truth.

    I’m reading Lundy’s book “Why Does He Do That?” And I’m in awe once again of how badly abusive my husband is…so coercive and subtle it’s sickening.

    Thank you for this post.

    [Paragraph breaks added to enhance readability. Editors.]

    • SeeClearerNow (prev NotHeard)

      Lundy has so much insight! It’s great that you’re able to see through your husband’s ‘honeymoon’ tactics, Loves6. Were you able to hang on to your ultimatum? This blog is so helpful to me too for clearing the ‘honeymoon’ / ‘nice guy’ fog!

      • loves6

        He has been “behaving” since the ultimatum so [I] haven’t had to carry through with it.
        I have a question….my husband snatched a gaming device out my child’s hand last night, raving about the kid’s being disobedient. Raising his voice about them wanting a drink or something. Within minutes he toned down and made a joke….weird?? Today, he hit his toes on something on the floor….he was in pain, but got angry….clinched his fist, went to hit the thing that hurt him, then in an angry tone demanded the person to own up who put it there….my response was “no one is going to own up when you rage like that….they will be scared to”. His reply was, “being angry is a part of life accept it”….then a few minutes later he is nice to us again….weird?? Is this odd behaviour? Is this just me being paranoid about abuse? Is this an abuser being demanding and reactory? He is like this a lot. His anger is just under the surface.

      • Loves6, I don’t think it’s paranoia to think this is weird behaviour. Rather, I think it’s wisdom on your part to notice it and find yourself being quite concerned about it. I think it shows he is aware of your ultimatum and is attempting to comply with it, but his attempt is only on the surface — there is no real heart-change, nor real conviction of sin. He’s just consilious that he must not do wrong or he’ll cop consequences from you.

        A truly repentant person would be conscious that he / she must not do wrong, because it is WRONG and is a sin against God and that other person. Your husband is only wanting to avoid consequences, he is not really changing his heart and his attitudes that lead to him being abusive.

        And his ‘good behaviour’ proves that he can control the abuse — when he choses to. Which shows that when he chooses to let it rip (not control it) he is making that choice as well.

        Remember, with repentance you’re not only looking for change of behaviour, you’re looking for change of heart.

        And I want to remind you of this: you are free to up the ante on your ultimatum (whatever it was) and tell him that you now have decided that you won’t be happy with just outward change of behaviour from him, you will only feel really safe if he changes at the heart level. Let him put that in his pipe and smoke it!

      • Personally, I prefer to call that phase not the ‘honeymoon’ phase but the ‘buy-back’ phase. Or the ‘suck-you-back-into-the-spider-web-by-pretending-to-have-given-up-fangs-and-poison’ phase.

      • grace551

        Loves6, that seems odd behaviour to me too. I prayed for you. x

  7. EA

    Abusers often leave after a long period of afflicting pain and suffering, leaving behind a trail of damage. This little piece I wrote, hoping to bring a ray of sunshine in somebodies life.

    In this life we are all bound by a common fate, the fact that we are replaceable. We have some sense of security in our circle of family, friends; our workplace, our social status, a safe dwelling place. In a moment, in the blink of an eye, that security can crumble. How precarious the safety we create in our minds, how frail we are in the balance of the scales of fate and fickle minds. Replaced by another partner, a more efficient worker, the crumbling of a circle of friends when bad times come, a weaker nation overthrown by one more powerful, a child being born and someone dying; a continuous flow of replacement. How we have to reconstruct the shambles, painstakingly rebuild our self-confidence, rethink our space in this here and now when it does happen. So we build our dreams on the precarious foundations of relationships, economy and politics, hoping, praying, believing that they should last. I am so grateful that I can hold onto the sure knowledge, that I am loved by a God who considers me as being irreplaceable, precious and worthy of existence. This knowledge creates in me a stable foundation of truth when faced with being replaced. In the end, this is all that really matters. 9 Feb 2015

    Kind regards,
    P.S. Thank you for a wonderful newsletter.

    • loves6

      This is so true.
      Problem is my abuser will not leave….he will stay put. I am the one that will have to leave and deal with the aftermath of his destructive, poisoning ways.
      Thank you.

  8. Karen

    Excellent post here, Jeff and Barbara. Quick and to the point. Abusers in the church can be men or women, many of whom hold leadership positions. These types of people “work” the system well with their mouths in “networking” for highly-praised elected positions. In literally watching and hearing the slippery words ooze from their mouths in praising and generously “blessing” the pastors, boards, Elders, deacon and deaconesses, or anyone they see as having “power” over people. Often, the Charismatics focus on their spiritual elitism, generously sharing their “visions, the names of the volumes of authors they have read, their favorite Trinity Broadcasting Network false preachers and teachers: these “office” holders declare they are prophets and prophetesses, telling you they had a “word from the Lord” in what you should do in your life, and many seek out personal information to “blackmail” you when you figure out their poisonous schemes and begin to ask questions like “Where is that found in the Word of God?” The hidden fangs then become visible.

    When I arrived at my former Charismatic church, everything seemed too good to be true. I soon discovered [in] that particular leadership system, certain leaders were assigned to “get to know” the new attendees on a personal level so they would “bond” and stay in their religious system. I found it odd that the pastor knew certain details of some of the struggles I was going through because he would have a hard pounding sermon, then at the end of every sermon, he would say “if you are struggling with this “SIN”, with every head bowed and every eye closed, I would like you to raise your hand and we will pray for you. This is confidential and between you and God (his Charismatic God).”

    In my spirit, I began to sense that all was not well within this church and during a conversation on the telephone with one of the church board leaders (a very authoritarian woman – as I taught Sunday School under her “leadership”), I shared with her that I had been researching the characteristics of [what] makes up a cult which provided a segue way into what I was learning. I told her that cults “love-bomb” the new church attendees and that leaders are assigned to certain families to get to know them personally in extracting information, much of it personal, and then reporting this back to the leadership and especially the pastor so they can “fix” that person / families who do not fall into alignment with their prescribed theology. Then I asked her point blank, “does this church do this?” To which she responded, “I cannot deny that what you have said is not true.”

    Her response was worded very carefully for I knew she held tremendous power within this church as she was one of the pastor’s “favored women” with her visions, “God told me this and God told me that” speech, and her power over personality in manipulating men and women (she is very beautiful on the outside and her eyes flutter like a bird). Basically, she said “you nailed it!” After she confirmed my suspicions, I chose to not share personal information with her any longer (did I mention that earlier in our relationship, I quietly shared with her that my daughter was beginning to date for she was now ready for that next step in her life….and I did this quietly for I did not want others to know and I desired prayers for wisdom and protection for my daughter. Immediately, I watched her leave my presence and walk over to another deaconess stating loudly, “I think we need to have a teen-girl Bible study on “purity”” as she glanced at me with narrow eyes and a smug look. I shared a confidence and she deliberately abused me within a few seconds. And this coming from a woman who has immoral sexual issues with her very own children as well as the other deaconess, whose son raped a young woman and went to prison!).

    It then became clear as a bell, that everything I shared in confidence with this beautiful viper, was making its way around the church board, the Elders, the deacons and deaconesses, as well as their god, the pastor. The insightful and hurtful comments that were coming out of their mouths in conversations left me baffled for a time, for I unknowingly did not know this woman was a meddling busy-body, destroying families on her watch. I was believing I was the worst of sinners in that cult and was raising my hand often for prayer for I believed his “revelations” were actually from the imparting of God, the Holy Spirit, when in fact he was being “fed” information from his leadership informants. He did not receive “special revelations from the holy spirit (will not blaspheme Him here), he was receiving his information from his leadership “detectives.” What a total and complete farce! When Jesus spoke to the religious zealots of His day, in calling them what they were “You brood of vipers….”, His words became very real in applying this to the harlot church system where I participated.

    Jesus knew and understood back then, and He knows and still understands the sin living in human heart today. While He came to set the captives free, many wicked men and women who say they are in leadership to serve, actually lie with their mouths and their hearts, for they secretly desire to be worshiped in place of Christ. While Jesus was a man of no reputation and humbly gave up His life for the remission of our sins (yes, if we are truly honest here, all of us are sinners desperately in need of Christ), most leaders desire to acquire the fire of a spectacular reputation proudly promoting themselves over and beyond Jesus and His finished work on the cross. People lord it over other people and they love themselves so, and yet Jesus has set us free….to worship Him in spirit and truth….and how leadership hates this so.

    May Jesus receive all of the preeminence in our lives, for He is LORD.

  9. Karen

    And EA, your comment is beautiful.

  10. Happy Gramma

    I have just recently discovered your blog and am blown away as I try to absorb all of the valuable information. I have many questions, but by far the most pressing would be how can someone ever convince an abuser that they are one? I have no doubt that my husband is an abuser and have lost all hope of him ever changing, but wouldn’t the first step be for him to admit he is an abuser?

    • Valerie

      Happy Gramma, this is the trap that many of us have fallen into….thinking that the abuser’s main issue is lack of information and self-reflection. However they are very aware of what they are doing. The awareness can be seen in how they quickly shift demeanor and focus when a certain person calls or comes within earshot of a conversation. Namely, they know how to manipulate and they know who to manipulate and when.

      To call out the abuser for being an abuser seems to only leave consequences for the truth-teller. If we keep the focus on how we will respond to and hold accountable the abuser we have better chance for healing. Putting the focus on the abuser only leaves us in a state of turmoil and instability. You can not change someone who does not desire to change and retaliates against any indication such a conversation will take place.

      How will someone convince someone they are [an] abuser? Simply put no one can. In my case my H had received several “life blows” that I prayed would cause him to humble himself before God, yet even after begging him to confer with God about what was going on he flatly resisted and only became more abusive and cruel. I have heard similar accounts from victims….so it seems even the Spirit’s conviction does not rouse them to desire any degree of self-reflection.

      Welcome to the blog, Happy Gramma! I pray you will find comfort, validation and guidance as you seek God through the next part of your journey.

    • Hi, Happy Gramma,
      Short answer is: No person can convince an abuser that he / she is an abuser. Only the Holy Spirit can convict the soul of an abuser with deep conviction needed for the abuser to fully admit their sin and change.

      Beware of the trap of thinking you can convince an abuser of his abusiveness. He will play that game with you (and with the pastor) ad infinitum, if he wants to. Abusers can be good at pretending to see their sin and repent of it. They often specialise in half-baked repentance that looks good enough for the hopeful victim and the naive pastor to believe in. They string you out on that long line, playing the feigned repentance game for all it’s worth. This gives them often YEARS more of keeping you under control, or at least, keeping you on a leash of hope, so you don’t get on with building a new life free and safe from their abuse.

      The most relevant Bible passage for this is 1 Corinthians 5. Paul told the church to put that man, and others like him (see verse 9ff especially) out of the church — to hand them over to Satan for the destruction of the flesh. That is the thing which is most likely to bring them to repentance. But even out in the world they are still very unlikely to come to true repentance. It only happens if God quickens the dead spirit to life.

      I wrote to you in my letter not to associate with sexually immoral people — not at all meaning the sexually immoral of this world, or the greedy and swindlers, or idolaters, since then you would need to go out of the world. But now I am writing to you not to associate with anyone who bears the name of brother if he is guilty of sexual immorality or greed, or is an idolater, reviler, drunkard, or swindler — not even to eat with such a one. For what have I to do with judging outsiders? Is it not those inside the church whom you are to judge? God judges those outside. “Purge the evil person from among you.” (1 Corinthians 5:9-13 ESV) [Emphasis added.]

    • And Happy Gramma, welcome to the blog. 🙂 You might like to check out out New Users’ Info page (see the top menu).

  11. rhondajeannie

    I feel Jesus’ words seem to express what I encountered, ‘you brood of vipers’. It has such a visual picture of grouping together and brooding over the issues before them. Taken from the Code Book [Internet Archive link]1 of the “Presbyterian Church of Victoria” / Australia:

    In deciding whether to sit in private or not a court considers the interests of the church and the necessity to guard its ministers and members from charges which may prove to be ill-founded. In all circumstances a court seeks to uphold the reputation of the church.

    Considering I wasn’t even invited into their meeting when they met in private, I believe it wouldn’t be very hard to uphold the reputation of the church.

    1[December 19, 2022: We added the link to a PDF of the Code Book of the Presbyterian Church of Victoria, Australia. The Internet Archive link is a copy of that PDF. Editors.]

    • Sounds like you’ve nailed it there, Rhondajeannie.

      The cards were stacked in the ‘c’hurch’s favour, with that clause in the Code Book.

  12. Herjourney


    As I was walking into Bible study this week I was taken aback as to who I saw talking to the pastor’s wife upon entering through the door. An abuser who happened to be brought into my life for a very specific reason. Through getting to know her because she moved in next door to me by God’s Devine plan last year. This viper is a pathological liar. And now she is back in fellowship with some very sympathetic listeners. She has the trappings of abuser written all over her face and actions. She walked up to me and gave me a hug. Like I was her best friend.

    That same evening….I handed the pastor a copy of your book “Unholy Charade”. Another young husband who I suspect is also an abuser has been acting strange around me. I suspect he saw the book. Although the book was out in plain sight. There was placed an envelope over the cover of the book. The side view was easy to read. Yikes!

    God seems to be doing something in this congregation. One person sold out to Christ can make a difference. Keep us humble!!

  13. Tess

    Yes….”heightened reaction to venom”….a wonderful and true illustration of C-PTSD which I have at the moment.
    I appreciate that others recently bitten the way I have been may wonder why I seem to be so broken….the answer is that this episode of emotional abuse is not my first….if it is your first time, then thank God!!
    This is my 4th episode of emotional abuse….1) by a well-meaning adoptive parent 2) a long marriage to an abuser 3) two previous episodes of spiritual abuse and finally 4) spiritual bullying by a friend followed by ostracism.
    I know I didn’t cause all this….but was too forgiving and tolerant throughout it all….with a mindset that always saw the best in people and didn’t wish to hurt them back….because in reality I thought I was strong….and I am strong but now worn down and broken by hurt and betrayal….I would ask you all please to pray for me as am not in a good place, just like many of you. This blog has taught me a lot but it’s taking a long time to change my unhealthy mindset that I believed was Christian and biblical…until now.

    • Hi, Tess, we understand!

      I think you might find this .pdf helpful: Honouring Resistance [Internet Archive link] And while it talks about abuse in intimate partner relationships, the concepts it explains can be transposed to other kinds of abusive relationships as well. 🙂

  14. Tess

    Thank you, thank you for recommending the “Honouring Resistance” PDF. This has confirmed for me, that yes, I was NOT a pushover in any of these abusive relationships….

    I read dozens of books, studied psychology, attended courses and more recently, have spent hours doing research on the Web….So I have tried to educate myself both academically and spiritually….

    Reading this has confirmed my stance and behaviour as positive and strong, although some would see me as weak and vulnerable.

    Abuse can, as we know, contribute to mental health problems which can add to the view that the victim is unstable, unintelligent and unbalanced….This can then be used as “proof” that the poor perpetrator has had to put up with unbalanced behaviour which caused the need to abuse….When, in reality, it is the abuse that has “messed with our heads” and in some cases, caused PTSD which makes us appear difficult to live with or to be friends with, etc..

    Thank you, Barbara, for this document (“Honouring Resistance”) and thus showing that you believe in my sanity and quiet strength which has recently been so undermined.

    Stumbling across this blog has been such a comfort to me and to many others who are struggling to believe in ourselves and our sanity.

    Blessings to you all.

  15. How??Why??

    It’s hard sometimes as a victim to remember who you are in Christ. His abuse against me was dismissed by the court. The judge said he wasn’t credible, but he let him walk. He has more than half a dozen felonies, is a convict, or ex, meth addict and has given me the clear impression he will kill me. They gave him a pass to do whatever he wants. And of course the police say I am lying, won’t respond to my calls and he’ll [???] at me. I’m a sitting duck.

    I know he will come for me. Why does God allow this? And how are we to believe?

    • Dear sister, I believe you. The court has failed and you are indeed at high risk from your abuser.

      You’ve probably thought a lot about your options already, but here is our Safety Planning page. There may be some things on it which might be helpful. If you can leave, go underground, off the radar so he can’t find you, that might be your best chance of safety.

      And you may want to look at this too: Document the Abuse.

      By the way, I changed your screen name as an added precaution for your safety. If you want it to be changed to something else, just email my assistant TWBTC (The Woman Behind The Curtain). Her address is twbtc.acfj@gmail.com

      I also removed the URL to your blog. I want to help you keep as safe as possible while you are commenting on this site.

      Why does God allow this? It would be glib of me to try to answer that in a blog comment! There are lots of things in Scripture which relate to that question, but given how much risk you are under at the moment from your abuser, I don’t think it’s the right time to give you a long explanation of what Scripture says on that question.

      But we do know that God will bring perfect justice in the end. And He will take vengeance on all the wicked unrepentant evildoers.

      How are we to believe? Only by faith. Our lives on this earth may include much suffering and persecution. And in many places in this sin-blighted world, the institutions that are meant to protect the vulnerable have been infiltrated and corrupted by the wicked. The secular justice system has given you no justice.

      God’s Word does not promise us that if we are believers we will escape persecution in this fallen world. But He does promise to wind up this fallen world one day like a scroll and bring in the New Heavens and New Earth for all who have faith in Jesus.

      I hesitate to say this as I might be wrong, but here are some suggestions for Bible study which you might find helpful. The links will take you to BibleGateway.com and I’m giving you the New Matthew Bible version.

      2 Peter 2 [Internet Archive link]

      2 Peter 3 [Internet Archive link]

      2 Timothy 3 [Internet Archive link]

      Romans 8 [Internet Archive link]

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